Love this no holds barred production from Joel Alter who revisits his alter ego producing four equally hard-hitting numbers for his own True Rotary Recordings. BMF kicks things off with brutal, heavy-duty basslines finding meaning in amongst the grainy electronics and tough beats. Bushcraft, then follows care of more rigorous drums this time augmented by stereo wide stabs which set your emotions on fire. The unnerving Rats In The Walls lives up to its title with darker sensibilities exploring their pathway, as the equally questioning Dream World ends the release with further moody synthesisers undulating across tight drums and a true sense of urgency.
This latest and most excellent set of tracks from Joel Alter are my favourites from the producer to date. No Way captures a melancholy yet uplifting mood which not only pulls on the heartstrings but also hits you hard with a heavy-duty bottom end that is all but nasty. Opposites attract. The Drum again attacks the senses with rough bass, atmospheric voices and an almost jazzy attitude. Ed Davenport then tackles No Way by turning it upside down with harder stabs and fiery snares talking centre stage. Jitterbug finishes with a swing in the tail and striking chords again playing your emotions without words.
It’s almost as if you just need to hear the bassline on its own and you would be satisfied, although when the kick and claps hit it all makes perfect sense. Love the way this is so effortlessly funky, uncomplicated yet imaginatively musical as the chords evolve and the Acid gets slightly twisted. The original version of One Four Green was released on Andy Blake’s World Unknown imprint in 2011 but makes a very welcome return today proving that the past can also sound very much like the future. Remixes come from Deep Space Orchestra giving it more Techno feel, to Perseus Traxx who playfully rework the original elements, leaving Jonny Aux to break it all down to the bare essentials. Essential.
Stefan Braatz Pres. Crack Jack
Unreleased Traxx EP
SoulDeep Inc. Records
Stefan Braatz’s EP for SoulDeep comprises of four equally impressive tracks that will reignite that classic sound of Chicago to you all over again. Yes it’s a homage but one that feels fresh with two tracks: Jacks Nation and especially Acid Music each offering their own blistering take on the Acid sound of the late eighties. Chicago Skyline meanwhile delves into a deeper landscape with moody keys and tastefully spoken words telling a story as does the next production T.R.A.X.X which also probes similar territory.
Having inevitably reached the colour Black the series now enters its tenth year with the same impact with which they began. The music is still first-rate, soulful yet provocative and as you play through the numbers you’ve got to say there is no sign of filler here. Opening with the Nebraska remix of Salvatore Freda’s Luv Can’t Hurt you get the sense of history compacted by a contemporary flair that defines the label so easily. And, as you ease into the proceeding Set Me Free by Willie Graff & Tuccillo you know you’re in good company. Moving between deeper moments, Tech and Disco and most points in between the selection features the labels releases over the past year, along with some new exclusives that notably finish with Mark Hand’s sublime bass-warming Don’t Take It All Away. A second CD then sees everything blended neatly together for your extended listening pleasure.
The third album for review this week is by far the most diverse. And number 3 in the Parisien series continues its dedication to exposing fresh French talent. Put it this way if you know of a nightclub that plays such an exciting and wildly imaginative set of music then please let us know? From Toys low-slung and emotive â€˜Noise’ straight through to the cosmopolitan Disco of Cinema and Le Crayon, and on to the chiming guitars of You, the compilation breathes fresh life into jaded eyes. Just to highlight the variation FAUVE â€˜Kane’ pushes the envelope still further with haunting sentiments and retro guitars feeling cinematic and tastefully mysterious, while the finale from Saint Michel â€˜Don’t Bother’ does likewise except with synthesizers accompanied by a more melancholy twist. Next please.
bbr/ Philadelphia International Records
The really don’t make them like this anymore which is why it’s such a joy to listen to Big Break Records Expanded Anniversary Edition all over again. Forty years after its original release and the power of the music and sheer exaltation of the vocals still remain very much intact. There probably couldn’t be a more apt opener that the energetic â€˜Put Your Hands Together’ but that’s not to forget the album’s title is about Slavery – the title track being particularly poignant and you only need to look closely at the cover art too. That said you’d be a fool to ignore powerhouse grooves such as the timely message of For The Love Of Money or the original version of Now That We Found Love that sees the ballad sound very different to the later Third World version. Now digitally remastered you can soak up all those soulful strings and horns in their full glory via the original sublime Gamble & Huff production, and hear where dance music was pointing to next. For the full picture and story sleeve notes by PopMatters Christian John Wikane are invaluable.
I did think of Durutti Column when I first heard Rivero Brito’s sensitively plucked guitar streaming through stereo and that’s of course a most welcoming experience. But, it’s also equally refreshing not to plant thoughts in your mind as this EP conjures up all sorts of people you could reference, despite the music having a life very much of its own. After experiencing the rather beautiful title track, the even more so, Keep Your Eyes Closed defies logic with uber-cool Double Bass and fizzy electronics blending together impressively with thought-enhancing arrangements and subtleties. The Arkist Remix adds beats, though cleverly doesn’t lose the charm, on an excellent version that can only come highly recommended. The Live Take of Last Page then finishes off with what must have put a rather large smile on Ben Watts face… 9
Fresh remixes of Boris Dlugosch’s biggie from the mid nineties sees Inaya Day’s vocals revitalised once again, and this time round over equally contemporary versions. Firstly from the excellent Joel Alter who swings delicious bass off hissing hi-hats and funky organ, while utilising snippets of appropriate voice to deliver more typically irresistible grooves. The Coyu Kitty-Push remix gives the drums much more of a tribal flavour and uses more melody, all of which eventually reaches the joyous chorus line. 8
This new instalment from Moda Music begins life with another notable Leeds artist, Hot Since 82. Hurt You, fuels the senses with an infectious bassline, tripped-out voices and insistent hi-hats which punctuate the production throughout – you couldn’t really ask for a better start from the label. Second track, Sundown compliments the picture with darker notation and funkier percussion being offset by semi- melodic vocal snippets and dark, brooding synth chords which all feel suitably lush. 8
Sounding enviously similar to The Cure circa 1980 with its evocative, gothic overtones and that uniquely, haunting bass-guitar sound, this even manages to transcend that very possibility via heavenly treated voices and shimmering electronic percussion. A truly excellent piece of music to refresh the soul – or at least words to that effect. One Day In May, proceeds with a stunning chord progression that deifies simplicity and is again aided by a surreal collection of voices and sounds so tempting that you can almost taste them. The Snake Pit Dub of the title track ends by tweaking the elements into yet more ethereal beauty as a special bonus for the digital package. 9
Kate Simko & Matt Tolfrey The Same Page EP Leftroom
Leftroom’s Matt Tolfrey teams up with Chicago’s Kate Simko to produce this devastating collection of one, two, three tracks. Opening with, Take It Easy which blurs the lines between Jazz, House and Electro – which if you ask me sounds like the perfect idea – by playing cool guitar alongside big fuzzy chords and electro-funk bass, this also boasts a clever arrangement that is never less than electrifying. Synthetic sounds continue to flow with, Lazy B coming complete with refreshingly funky percussion, leaving No Shame to develop the Chicago theme further into the ethos. 9
Dropping the tempo but never easing up on the mood comes this latest from the creative hands belonging to Voices Of Black. It’s hard not to admire the audacity of their spirit as these laid back vocals tease a sense of drama from the quietly addictive, head-nodding rhythms, and it’s even harder not to nod likewise. Remixes are from the even more down-tempo Taner Ross, who furthers the tension still to highlight the vocals’ charm, and No Regualr Play feat. John Camp Remix who pick up the pace again giving the song some House pizzazz via the detuned voices and funky arpeggios. 8
Proving once again the strength of contemporary music, The White Lamp show the way the way forward with their combination of irresistibly cool grooves and knowing vocals. I guess the clue is in the labels’ name: Futureboogie. TheÂ drive of It’s You lies within the pulsating basslines and a vocal delivery which places tension against melody, and is nothing but completely enticing. Ron Basejam aka Jim Baron from Crazy P supplies the remix with typical panache and comes up funky as ever with a selection of deliciously soulful chords, leaving the Eats Everything and Christophe Acid Ouse remix to do that very thing in equal style. 8
Franck Roger â€˜Too Blind To See’ Real Tone Records
The first of two releases reviewed this week (both produced by Franck Roger) sees the inimitable Frenchman deliver what he does best: gorgeous Deep House Music for the discernable listener. Too Blind To See sequences together a compelling bassline with crisp drums, edited vocal snippets and ends up at the desired effect. Deep In again delivers on provocative percussion, although this time with cutting organ chords and warmer vocals coupled with tastefully muted trumpet this notably sumptuous arrangement pushes all the right buttons. 8
Joel Alter feat. Eric D. Clark â€˜Rules Of Love (Franck Roger Remix)’ Bass Culture
This excellent remix sees Roger surpass himself with the obvious pleasure of reworking these striking spoken words by Eric D. Clark. Driven by an infectious arpeggio of haunting synth and stunning bass notes this perfectly times its sense of occasion by gently introducing a devastatingly cool array of ideas, from additional deep tones to commanding keys. Feeling very much like that classic Chicago House sound, both electronically and vocally, this can only come as highly recommended.Â Also well worth checking are the Original andÂ DJ Qu versions. 9
Not out until Feburary 12 (2012) but the video for theÂ new single from Azari & III: Reckless is first class…
Luv Luv Luv Records
And for something very different to all of the above you could try this Orange Juice flavoured slice of pure pop soul. Clocking in at a shade over three minutes this effortlessly provides breezy summer melodies alongside funky guitar which is pleasingly strummed throughout. Easy to move to too, this neatly combines happy moments with sunnier climes. 7
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